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Oscar-winning sound editor killed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Oscar-winning sound editor Michael Hopkins, a frequent collaborator of filmmaker Peter Jackson, was killed in a rafting accident in New Zealand, police said.


Hopkins, 53, drowned Sunday in the Waiohine River on New Zealand's North Island, the BBC reported. Two people with him survived after all three were ejected from the raft in a fast-flowing eddy, the report said.

Hopkins won Academy Awards for his work on "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" in 2003 and "King Kong" in 2006. Both were big-screen epics Jackson directed. Hopkins also collaborated with Jackson on the movies "Braindead," "Heavenly Creatures," "The Frighteners," "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

Hopkins' other film credits included "Blade Runner," "Superman," "Octopussy" and "Transformers."

The New Zealand Herald said a family celebration of Hopkins' life is planned for Thursday.

New Zealand's News One quoted Jackson as saying he and his fellow producers -- Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Caro Cunningham and Zane Weiner -- are "deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death" of Hopkins.


"I know I can speak for the many actors, directors, production and post-production crew who were lucky enough to work with Mike, in saying that he will be terribly missed," Jackson said.

"Mike was an extraordinarily talented sound designer, editor and supervisor and thoroughly deserving multiple Oscar winner. Under his guidance, New Zealand became recognized as one of the leading hubs of post-production sound in the world."

Jackson went on to call the sound expert "a very genuine, caring and warm-hearted guy with a great sense of humor."

"We are all mourning his passing -- his family, his friends and colleagues are in our thoughts," he said.

1M revelers flocked to Times Square for New Year's Eve

NEW YORK, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- More than 1 million revelers helped ring in 2013 in New York's Times Square, officials estimate.

ABC's New Year's Eve live coverage from the Big Apple's tourist district included appearances by Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, PSY, MC Hammer, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the Rockettes.

"American Idol" emcee Ryan Seacrest served as host of Monday evening's festivities, paying homage to his mentor and predecessor Dick Clark, who died in April at the age of 82.


Clark was the holiday program's host from 1972 to 2005. He began sharing duties with Seacrest in 2005 when he suffered a stroke.

Revelers at Monday night's festivities wore blue foam hats and waved blue balloons, distributed by sponsor Nivea.

The New York Daily News said there were no public toilets set up for the event, but that didn't seem to deter people from standing for hours waiting for the party to start.

Police said there were no major incidents during the event to report.

The 2013 ball sported 288 new Waterford crystals and confetti dumped on Times Square at midnight included bits of paper inscribed with the wishes of visitors, the Daily News said.

Hefner, 86, marries Harris, 26, in LA

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and onetime runaway bridge Crystal Harris were married Monday at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

The New Year's Eve ceremony took place a year and a half after Harris first broke off the engagement, The Hollywood Reporter said.

"Today is the day I become Mrs. Hugh Hefner. Feeling very happy, lucky, and blessed," Harris, Playboy's Miss December 2009, tweeted.

Hefner, 86, and Harris, 26, originally were to be married in June 2011, but Harris called it off five days before the big day, saying on her website: "After much deep reflection and thought I have decided to end my engagement with Hef. I have the utmost respect for Hef and wish him the best going forward."


The pair reunited earlier this year, with Harris showing off her new engagement ring on Twitter.

She auctioned off her first ring, which featured a 3.39-carat circular-cut diamond, in October, THR said.

'Teen Mom 2' star Jenelle Evans breaks up with new hubby

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Jenelle Evans, one of the stars of the American reality series "Teen Mom 2," has been angrily fighting with her new husband, Courtland Rogers, on Twitter.

The couple wed Dec. 4 following a two-week engagement and three-month courtship.

They appear to have broken up via Twitter during the weekend.

Evans, 21, has a 3-year-old son Jace from a previous relationship. She apparently became enraged after Rogers talked to his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his young daughter, said.

"First of all why is your daughter up at 11pm anyways when you were 'talking' to her on the phone?! Haha right," Evans tweeted to Rogers.

"So I just got broke up with because of talkin to my lil girl on the phone last night finally getting to here her tell me she loves dada! Wow," Rogers tweeted back after the Dec. 30 blowout.

No word on whether the pair plans to officially file for divorce.


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